Summer-Fall 2010 Telluride Magazine

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photo: whit richardson

art: anji sawant

askjock

[ RUNNING AT ELEVATION ] Dear Jock, I plan to run the Boston Marathon next April. Some studies claim altitude training will help and others say it will be detrimental. What do you say? Will training in Telluride help or hurt my performance at sea level? —A Distance Athlete Distance, The 1968 Olympics in mile-high Mexico City yielded slow times across the board for endurance events, while anaerobic competitors (such as sprinters and weight-lifters) set world records. These results sparked an altitude-training debate that continues today. There is no question that high altitude decreases athletic performance, and it’s also true that training at altitude seems to be advantageous—although not all scientists are in the high-altitude training camp. The experts do agree that exercise at high altitude creates physiological changes, such as an increase in the number of red blood cells that carry oxygen throughout the body. The question is how long these changes linger when the athlete moves to low elevation—and whether or not the challenge of recovering from a taxing workout at altitude negates its advantages. After reading conflicting studies, I offer the following advice: Train high to maximize your body’s oxygen-carrying capacity; sleep low to increase the amount of oxygen available for recovery. Compete within 72 hours after arriving at low

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elevation to prevent your body from losing any of its high-altitude edge. And of course, eat smart and stay hydrated. Best of luck in Beantown, —Jock

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for more about performance at altitude

www.altitude.org

[ SHADES SELECTION ] Dear Jock, I’m in the market for a pair of sunglasses to wear when I’m skiing, biking, fishing, playing golf, hiking and looking cool on the bench in front of the Steaming Bean. My fishing buddy says polarized lenses are the only way to go. Is he right? —Shady Shady, Light reflected from such surfaces as a flat road or smooth water is horizontally polarized. Instead of being scattered in all directions, reflected light tends to travel in a horizontally oriented direction. This creates an annoying, and sometimes hazardous, intensity of light that we call “glare.” Polarized lenses filter this intense light. They are especially useful for fishermen who want to see their prey below the surface of the water. But polarized lenses can be detrimental. For example, when downhill skiing, polarized lenses may mask the glare from an icy patch of snow. They also obscure liquid crystal displays, which might be problematic when using a cell phone, wristwatch or global positioning device.

summer/fall 2010

So to answer your question: A pair of polarized glasses is ideal for fishing but may not be ideal for your other activities. You’ll have to factor lens tint, frame fit and price into your decision. Whatever shades you purchase, Jock recommends a hard shell storage case and a sunglass retention device to extend the longevity of your investment. Speaking of investment: Purchase your shades from a specialized optical retailer, not off the sale rack at the gas station. You get what you pay for, and your eyes are worth every penny. See you around, —Jock

[ DON’T DRINK THE WATER ] Dear Jock, I like to ramble around the hills, but I don’t like to carry a heavy pack full of water. I’ve seen some people drinking straight from streams above tree line. Should I follow suit or will I contract giardia? —High Country Hiker High Country, According to the Center for Disease Control, anytime you drink untreated water in the backcountry, you run the risk of ingesting the Giardia lamblia parasite. These microscopic protozoa live in the intestines of many of Colorado’s high-country mammals such as beaver, deer, elk, cattle and humans. They spread through oral contact with feces. Because giardia is encased in a sturdy shell, it is exceptionally resilient, even when submerged in water. Common symptoms of giardia include two to six weeks of severe gastrointestinal distress, vile sulphuric flatulence and explosive diarrhea. Treatment usually requires a course of potent antibiotics. Jock has drunk from quite a few high-country streams over the years, but usually within close proximity to the source. Thus far, I haven’t been stricken with giardia. However, several of my friends haven’t been so lucky. Witnessing their suffering caused me to foreswear drinking from alpine streams. The temporary discomfort created by carrying sufficient water—or a purification device—on the trail seems paltry compared to the ravages of the

giardia parasite on the human digestive system. In summary: The risk of contracting giardia is a real crapshoot. With pun intended, —Jock

[ GONE FISHING ] Dear Jock, I hear there’s great flyfishing around Telluride, but no matter how hard I try, I never catch any fish. Where are those trout hiding? When is the best time to go after them? —Empty Creel Empty Creel, The free-flowing waters of the San Miguel and Dolores Rivers are rife with six species of trout, including rainbow, brown, brook, cutthroat, cut-bow and the hybrid tiger trout. These fish also lurk in the tail waters of the Uncompahgre below the Ridgway Reservoir. While it is possible to fish 365 days a year, your best bet is to avoid the spring runoff when the rivers are muddy and the fish can’t see your fly. Water temperature also plays a crucial role: You want to fish when the water temps are rising, though not above 70 degrees. For reasons unknown, dawn and dusk are usually excellent times to wet a line. Perhaps fish—like humans— enjoy the traditions of breakfast and dinner. A final consideration is selection of the proper fly. This decision depends upon a variety of factors too complex to discuss here. If you really want to learn how to catch fish, hire a guide. A day spent with a expert local angler will give you the tactics and tools you require to catch—and release—the wily trout. An important postscript: The purchase of a Colorado fishing license or Colorado Outdoor Recreation Card places you under the umbrella of a statewide backcountry rescue insurance pool. If the unexpected occurs, the cost of your search and rescue is covered. So make sure your fishing license or recreation card is current. Thanks for dropping a line, —Jock

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